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P.O. Box 670
Lopez, WA 98261 USA

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P.O. Box 670, Lopez, WA 98261 USA

    The GMM Philosophy

    Updated August 30, 2008

    Lately, some modeling websites and/or e-mailing lists have mentioned the favorable treatment they've received from us, and this would sometimes start a thread among listmembers with similar experiences being added. All GMM customers worldwide should know that their money will always be safe with us, and they will always be treated with undivided attention and unqualified respect. We do not believe in "stupid questions". New modelers should not hestitate to ask any question they need answered regarding our products. Of course we aren't able to answer in detail questions that involve historical research such as paint schemes, weapons fit, and so on. But if you need to know something about our PE products or decals, we'll do our best to help you.

    If ever we make a mistake with your order, please contact us via e-mail or regular (snail) mail and we'll take immediate action to correct our error. There is no need for you to "suffer in silence" when a simple communication to us can make things right. We've worked since 1985 to build and maintain a reputation for honest and responsive service as well as providing you with the finest photoetch detail sets money can buy. Sometimes a customer will make a mistake with an order. If it's a simple one, we'll fix it at no charge. But if it's more involved (say, an overseas order for a large and expensive item), then we'll still fix it but the customer will have to pay for the shipping due to the expense. Of course if it's our fault, we'll always correct it at no charge to the customer.

    I'm often asked why we include some features in our photoetched (PE) shipsets but leave others out. This is a factor of the available space versus the perceived (to me) usefulness of the part being considered. Space is the most important factor, because it limits what we can include for a given price.

    I try to set the price of each detail set so it's not too far from the price of the kit it's designed for. It's preferable for the PE set to cost less than the kit, but this can't always be done. Exceptions can include inexpensive older kits like those from Revell or Lindberg. In this case, the PE sets will always cost more than the plastic kit. But there's no way to avoid it due to the inherent costs of photoetching unless one chooses to leave out a lot of parts to make the set smaller. So a series of choices are faced as to what to include in the set.

    Whenever I'm faced with such a decision, I always favor parts that are difficult to make using other techniques. Simpler parts, such as destroyer spray shields, might be deleted because, 1. they can easily be fabricated from sheet styrene; 2. a model ship will usually need only two of them; and 3. they take up a lot of vaulable space better used for something more intricate.


    GMM's very popular photoetched details for the 1/350 scale Minicraft Titanic kit have undergone several improvements over the years. When they were first introduced in the mid 1980's, ocean liner modeling was a small minority interest among plastic ship modelers, and still is today. But we wanted to cater to the needs of liner buffs (I'm one myself), so to make sure we didn't risk losing too much money on providing a PE set for liner modelers, I decided to combine the 1/350 scale Titanic and Lusitania parts into one set which was named the Merchant Ship set. At the time, these two ships were (and still are) the only large ocean liner kits available in this scale. So by combining the two sets of parts into a 2-in-1 product, if one was a good seller and the other wasn't, the combination of both sets into a single item would improve our odds of making a profit so that we could always keep it in stock for enthusiasts. The hard truth is: no profit = no product, or at least not for long. Others may be very generous and choose to work for nothing (or at a loss), but we need a profit to stay in business and be able to afford to introduce new products regularly.

    I've often been asked to separate the Titanic and Lusitania parts into discrete sets, but I won't do this for several reasons: 1. It would require too many major changes in our catalogs, stock numbering system, ordering system for our etchers, and that of our many dealers, etc.; 2. The 2-in-1 approach encourages Titanic modelers to try their hand at the Lusitania kit, which has even finer detail and is just as colorful as the better known vessel - this helps keep the Lusy kit profitable and available for future builders. To drive home this point of profitability being necessary, it is quite telling that to date, no other photoetch manufacturer has brought out a set dedicated to the Lusitania. GMM's has always stood alone in this regard.


    It isn't because we're trying to hide from you. After all, we answer e-mails and regular letters all the time. And besides, we aren't set up for credit cards anyway, a necessity for phone orders.

    GMM is a very small business and, like other small businesss, we don't have a full-time secretary to answer phones. Our past experience has shown that numerous customers who would call us on the telephone would start out with legitimate questions that we could easily and quickly answer. But then, these same customers would add something like, "...as long as I have you on the phone..." and then launch into a long discussion on one or more topics. This ate up a lot of our time and we couldn't attend to our primary job, ie. filling orders and designing or upgrading new products. Also, requests left on our answering machine to call back via long distance were eating up our limited funds, and we often missed the customer anyway due to time zone differences, etc. So that's why we limit our communications to e-mail or regular mail. You can contact us using either of these ways whenever you want.

    Regarding the subject of shipping charges: In the beginning, we didn't charge for shipping. But as time went by, we found that a nominal charge was necessary with different rates for domestic vs. overseas deliveries. For us to provide free shipping, we'd have to increase the price of every item to compensate, so "free" shipping wouldn't really be free at all. Also, domestic customers would be forced to pay a higher price than overseas customers than was necessary if we went to such a system. So we instituted a token $1 shipping charge (since raised to the current $2.00 due to postal fee increases) for all North American orders and a 12% charge for overseas airmail.

    But some customers have been leaving off the shipping charges lately when they send their orders to us. To fill such an order would be grossly unfair to all those who do send in their $2.00 fee, so our standard policy is to return the order with its check to the sender with a note that they have to pay the fee before we ship. We're not independently wealthy, or we would pay the shipping charge out of our pocket. So be advised that any orders sent to us without the required shipping charge (and you have to admit that a flat $2.00 per order, no matter what its size, is pretty reasonable) will be returned to sender. If you insist on saving the $2.00 fee, you'ree always welcome to come here to Lopez Island in the great Northwestern USA and pick up your order personally.


    We sometimes get so engrossed with our hobbies that we forget to stay in touch with "The Man Upstairs". So the next time you're waiting for some glue or paint to dry, tell God and Jesus that you're still here and thinking of them. And thank them for everything good that's happened to you and your loved ones. Never forget, we're only here on Earth for a relatively short period and we could be taken away without warning at any time.

    If that happened to you, would you be ready?